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Thursday, December 5, 2013
Pressure of 98 by echo
We know my husband has PAH, but my question is, how bad is a pressure of 98 done by an echo? He does see a PH Specialist, and we are very satisfied with him, but I hear so many people saying 98 is not a very high pressure.
What is your opinion? He is on several meds for PH.
Thank you for your question.
An echocardiogram provides us with information about the function of the right and left sides of the heart. Additionally, it allows us to visualize the valves within the heart so that we can assess their function as well. Using a specialized technique, echocardiography can interrogate the tricuspid valve and right heart and provide information about the pressure in the pulmonary arteries.
It is important to realize, however, that this measurement has several limitations and, at best, it provides a reasonable estimate of the pressure. More precise measurement is obtained through right heart catheterization.
Practice patterns vary, but I can tell you that in my practice I place limited emphasis on the exact numbers derived from any single echocardiography. Instead, I tend to focus more on the overall size and function of the right heart. In addition, I tend to follow trends over time.
Speaking directly to your question regarding a pressure of 98 mmHg. If that pressure has been confirmed at least once by cardiac catheterization, then it is likely a high pressure. The pressure obtained from echocardiography often relates to the systolic (top number) blood pressure obtained at catheterization and a systolic pressure of 98 would be quite high.
Douglas W Haden, MD
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University